Future Cinema’s Bugsy Malone
Up until last week, I had heard of Secret Cinema, but not Future Cinema. Future Cinema specialise in creating living, breathing experiences of cinema. So when I was invited along to their showing of Bugsy Malone, which just happens to be one of my favourite films, I could hardly say no.
Taking place at the Troxy in the heart of London’s East End, you arrived, went down a side street and before you knew it, you were already deep in Bugsy Malone world. Gangsters and Molls with thick New York accents roamed the streets, asking if you were here for the auditions. You were ushered around to a back entrance of the theatre, but not before a quick scuffle broke out among some of the gangsters.
We got ushered in through windy back corridors where a real hive of pre-performance activity was taking place. Into a room we went for our ‘audition’. Like it or not, you’re part of the action – it’s best to just go with it. After learning a quick dance routine, we were told we’d made the cut. Through some more windy corridors we went, where we then had to hand a book over (if you remember the movie, the cover for Fat Sam’s Grand Slam is that it’s a book shop and to gain entry, you have to hand over a book). Then the door flew open and in we walked to Fat Sam’s Grand Slam. To say it was breathtaking would be an understatement. We swept down a grand staircase, taking in the huge stage and auditorium which had been made to look exactly like the club in the film.
Everyone was dressed in 1920s attire. It was hard to tell the audience from the actors. You really were completely engrossed in this experience. As the crowd milled around to find seats, grab cocktails or one of the many pastas on offer, the actors mingled among us, engaging in banter at our tables or the dancers doing a quick routine. Up on the stage, cast members would perform a few numbers from the film. The dedicated crowd knew all the words and joined in.
Then, the film began. They showed the whole film beginning to end and the experience was enhanced by the Future Cinema cast – where there was a chase scene in the movie, gangsters would be running through the auditorium. During ‘So You Wanna Be a Boxer’, we had our own Leroy roaming through the crowd, decked in his gloves.
But as we all know, there’s a splurge gun fight at the end of Bugsy Malone – what would happen here? we all wondered. As the time neared, excitement bubbled up in the auditorium – cast members hurried around telling us to look under our tables. We did and found clear rain macks to put on. As the crowd all hurried to try get our splurge protection on, the moment arrived. SPLURGE FIGHT! As the gangsters in the movie fired away, the auditorium filled with gangsters shooting splurge all over the place. It was an absolute riot! I got covered! With what was happening in the auditorium completely echoing what was happening on screen, it was impossible not to feel part of the movie.
There wasn’t one person in there not laughing and smiling. I guess if there’s one way to channel your inner kid on a Friday night, it’s by doing this. Everyone sang the final number as the cast took to the stage. Absolutely amazing vibes.
All in all, I can’t recommend this experience enough. Bugsy Malone is showing at the Troxy til April 29th and be sure to check out the Future Cinema website for details of other upcoming shows.